At the Pacific Coast Business Times, there has never been a shortage of opportunities for me to learn something new, meet someone interesting and take on a new challenge.
This will be my last real estate column for the Business Times, as my new husband and I are shortly moving to a small town near Yosemite National Park.
Here are some teachings that have stuck with me from a sampling of cities that make up this amazing region I have been lucky enough to call home for the past decade. Warning: Please proceed only with a healthy sense of humor …
• Drink wine and be saved. That’s good advice for anyone, but particularly for El Paso de Robles. With a booming tourism and wine industry and a citywide overhaul under way, the area will become the next Napa Valley yet.
• Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Although widely considered a small, rural town, the seeds for a successful city have been long planted in San Luis Obispo. Its idyllic setting between rolling hills and the coastline is strengthened by its role as the host of a major university, strong chamber of commerce, Economic Vitality Corp. and a bustling airport, despite recent flight cuts. The city will likely forever be an ideal location to live, do business and look at cows. Which reminds me: Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
• In honor of The Maverick bar in the Santa Ynez Valley, where I met my husband Scott, I thought an old cowboy proverb was appropriate: Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. “Sideways” brought into vogue a region that was already destined for fame, with a stunning landscape, award-winning wineries, interesting animals (ostriches and miniature horses) and the neighboring quaint Danish village of Solvang … oh and don’t forget the casino.
• In Goleta’s journey forward as a young city, developers and business owners can all but guarantee their success by remembering one important credo: Walk next to a heavy wagon; something may fall off. With a slurry of new hotels and office complexes slated for sites not too far from the University of California, Santa Barbara’s borders, developers seem to be on the right trail.
• Pressure makes diamonds. Santa Barbara’s taxing regulatory process can suck the time, money and energy out of any good developer, but it’s also the system that has created arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So some more words of encouragement to developers like Mountain Funding on the La Entrada de Santa Barbara project who are finally making some progress on lower State Street: Good things come to those who wait.
• Faint heart never won fair lady. As Westmont College and developer Rick Caruso know well, if you want to do business amid the mansions of Montecito, better bring some flowers and chocolates and put on your best suit … of armor. And don’t forget to have a bit of cash on you for the legal bills.
• Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which is why San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks, among other cities, should be pleased with recent efforts to make the city of San Buenaventura just a little more like them. In recent years, the coastal town has improved its downtown district by leaps and bounds, with other ideas cooking [think land bridge over freeway] to tie the downtown and beach area together, improve shopping destinations and increase tourism.
• A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Well, in Oxnard, two birds in hand are apparently worth five in the bush. The two towers at the Topa Financial Plaza may be all proponents of the “grow up, not out” campaign have to hold on to, as the two proposed towers at Wagon Wheel and three proposed towers at Channel Islands Center have been floating around longer than the three years I’ve been at the Business Times, and could likely outlive my predecessor as well. To opponents of the projects, never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether, eh?
• If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Limoneira has seen Santa Paula turn down development after development in the areas outside of its city urban restriction boundary, but that didn’t deter the city’s oldest employer, which will no doubt bring the quiet little town into the economic limelight following the construction of its master planned community in East Area One. If anyone could turn lemons into lemonade …
• No man is an island … and no city is either. As the bridge between the Central Coast and Los Angeles County, the cities that make up the Conejo Valley have demonstrated how important accessibility is in creating an economic hotspot and top quality office space to go with it. The tech corridor houses companies large enough to affect the entire region.
Hamilton joins Business Times as staff writer
Atascadero native Sara Hamilton has joined the Business Times.
She takes the place of Real Estate Editor Barbara Pearson who is leaving the Tri-Counties.
Hamilton is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
She has a bachelor’s in journalism and has worked for the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press.